Is there such a thing as a straightforward divorce? 

Very often, separating couples have high hopes that their divorce will be simple, amicable and anything other than drawn out. In our experience however, that’s rarely the case. Even in the most non-contentious of circumstances, there are the inevitable bumps in the road. It’s just one of the reasons why instructing a solicitor sooner rather than later is always a sound move to make. 

We talk a lot here at Harrogate Family Law about being the experts when it comes to helping our clients navigate their way through a ‘complex’ divorce. But what exactly do we mean by that? Let’s take a look.    

What are the potential complexities?

It’s impossible to cover each individual potential complexity in just one blog, but as a general rule of thumb, the more assets there are to be considered, the more complex the divorce is likely to be. When we talk about assets, this includes things like:

  • The matrimonial (family) home. 
  • Business interests.
  • Pensions and investments. 
  • Trusts and inheritance. 
  • High-net worth of one or both parties. 

Of course, if there are children involved, that can add another layer of complexity, especially if there are concerns around the ability to parent, or a dispute about with whom the children should live. 

There are several other things can also result in a divorce becoming complex, for example, the hiding or non-disclosure of assets and overseas assets. 

Hiding or non-disclosure of assets 

It’s not unheard of for a spouse to go out of their way to hide assets to ensure that they’re not considered as part of the marital pot to be divided. This is why it’s very important to keep a close eye on the financial aspects of your relationships, and look out for the non-disclosure of bank accounts, or the transfer of money or other assets overseas to international bank accounts (cryptocurrency can be a cause for concern here). 

If you suspect your partner is concealing assets or finances, then seeking expert legal advice is crucial. You should make your solicitor aware of your suspicions as soon as possible so that they can advise as to the best approach. It may be that they need to raise questions in relation to non-disclosure, and in some circumstances it may even result in your solicitor taking out an injunction such as a ‘freezing order’. 

International involvement 

If you and/or your ex-spouse have finances or assets in other countries, this can make your divorce proceedings that little bit more complex. Not least of which because there may well be other legal jurisdictions and laws to consider and adhere to. It may be that you require the advice of an international solicitor and have documents translated appropriately. 

It’s also worth keeping in mind child arrangements if you or your ex-partner ever wish to move abroad in the future. Appropriate consent must be agreed upon by both parents for the child to travel internationally. If an agreement can’t be reached, it may be that the arrangements for the children are formalised and decided by a judge. 

Child arrangements 

Children can sometimes make divorce proceedings more challenging, and more emotional. This is particularly the case if parents don’t agree on what arrangement will be in the children’s best interests. 

Mediation is now being widely encouraged in family law cases involving children, especially given that the government is keen to clear the current backlog of cases faced by the family courts. The process will commonly cover things like who will be responsible for the children’s day-to-day upbringing, whether the primary caregiver will require any additional financial provision, and where the children will live.  

Child-inclusive mediation has been growing in popularity. This means the child in question will speak privately with the mediator to share their thoughts and feelings on the situation. It allows them to speak in an honest, unbiased way and the mediator can consider their opinions. 

Narcissistic spouses and domestic abuse  

The complexity and progress of some divorce proceedings can often be dictated by the personalities of the parties. If you’re divorcing a narcissistic spouse for example, or if you’ve been the victim of physical or emotional abuse (including coercive control, gaslighting or stonewalling), then it’s important to be prepared for how this can affect progress. 

Again, having a solicitor in these circumstances can really help matters to move more efficiently, and lessen the stress and anxiety that you might feel. 

At Harrogate Family Law, we believe that your divorce or separation needs a unique and personal approach. We’re no strangers to any of the scenarios we’ve discussed above, and our expert team will be right by your side at every step of the way. 

For a free no-obligation consultation, you can contact us now.